Learning for all: shared principles for equitable and excellent basic education systems

More than 200 participants – including government officials, policymakers and education experts from over 20 countries gathered in Jakarta, Indonesia, for the global conference Learning for All: Shared Principles for Equitable and Excellent Basic Education Systems.

The conference addressed themes related to improving learning outcomes for all students, including how to support effective teaching and early childhood development, balancing school autonomy and accountability, and how education systems can build the skills needed for the 21st century.   

For the host country, Indonesia, the forum provided a valuable chance to look more closely at issues facing its education system.

While Indonesia has made considerable progress on access and education funding (with a commitment to allocate 20% of its budget to education), it faces critical challenges including efficiently using resources in a highly decentralized context, investing in early childhood, and needing to boost teacher quality along with learning outcomes.

Senior officials from Indonesia’s government ministries shared insights into Indonesia’s current reforms including teacher policies, school operating grants, conditional cash transfer programs, and early childhood development strategies.

From the experiences shared as well as research presented, participants were able to draw many relevant lessons to help strengthen their education systems. An overview of education performance in the region from the World Bank’s forthcoming regional Education Flagship Report showed that EAP countries are among the top performers on PISA, and that they have invested heavily in creating excellent education systems. Among these lessons, the conference revealed that high performing systems:

  • carefully select, groom and value their teachers by attracting high performing students into the teaching profession and providing relevant pre-service and in-service training in pedagogy and subject content;
  • create a structure and culture that promotes collaboration between teachers;
  • strategically use targeted measurements to promote accountability and drive reform;
  • invest early in children’s development;
  • view schools and parents as partners in education;
  • and are innovating to connect with industry, in order to link education systems to employment.

Former and current ministry officials also shared relevant lessons from middle income countries including Peru – which embarked on ambitious system-wide changes to promote equity and quality after placing last on PISA in 2012—and Mexico, which has developed a program to give teachers tools to build the socioemotional skills of adolescents in school. These countries face many of the same challenges as Indonesia and other countries in the region and offered important practical lessons and strategies for participants. Harry Anthony Patrinos, Education Manager, World Bank also shared examples from five reforms across the globe.  

The role of measuring education systems was a key topic of discussion as well. Australia shared a critical framework for…

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